Just back...5 day double dip on the Disney Dream Christmas Cruise....Pro's and Con's

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by flyingcat2003, Dec 29, 2012.

  1. OrcaPotter

    OrcaPotter Lucky to be local to the Mouse

    May 21, 2005
    I agree with others: This should definitely not scare you off from booking on the Dream or Fantasy. Everyone's experiences are different. I personally loved the Dream and am going again at the end of January. I actually found the cruise to not be crowded at all--the only time it was noticeable was in the afternoon around the family and kid pools. Since it was cold during our trip and we have a pool at home, missing this part of the ship was not a big deal at all.
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  3. caribear

    caribear I love WDW!

    Jun 29, 2004
    You can have 10 people who sailed on the same ship/same sailing and have 10 different opinions. Don't let this hamper your excitement for your upcoming cruise!!

    For those who think the ship is too big.....do not venture onto Royal Caribbean's Oasis or Allure of the Seas. Those ships are almost 2X the size of the Dream/Fantasy! That said.....we went on Oasis in 2010 and it was the most incredible cruise we have ever been on! Amazing ship....tons to do....just incredible!

    Dream: 129,690 tonnage
    Oasis: 225,282 tonnage
  4. 3princessMommy

    3princessMommy DIS Veteran

    Aug 4, 2007
    One other thing to keep in mind - the OP was commenting on their experience on a Christmas cruise. Now, I know there are some who swear by the holiday cruises. But we did one on the Magic (a smaller ship, which I love) and it wasn't all that great! We had to be moved in the dining room because our servers were terrible! This is where a great head server comes in very handy. If something doesn't go right, you make sure that you communicate that to your servers, but you also inform the head server. If it still isnt' fixed the second night, they are already aware of the issue and can take more direct measures to fix the problem.

    We were told on our Christmas cruise that many of the very experienced staff have earned the right to have Christmas off, so you get younger staff and newer crew members. Plus many of them may be away from their families at Christmas for the first time. It's just harder to be top form. Plus, those holiday cruises are normally completely sold out! That means there's no breathing space for the staff. And they normally add other special extras that aren't part of the normal routine, like Santa and gingerbread houses, etc. And the itineraries are normally slightly different too.

    That's a lot of change for the crew, particularly a relatively inexperienced one, to handle without hiccups.

    We won't cruise over Christmas again - partly because of the reality I painted above (on all the ships) - and partly because I just want to have Christmas at home with my own traditions.

    But above all, use to the comment cards for both good comments and to recommend improvement. I have seen crew members given large bonuses because of passenger comments! They really are important to them. But I think it should be more than just a box. I often attach notes explaining exactly why I've given the rating I did. That's much more important than a simple number.
  5. rubinjos

    rubinjos Earning My Ears

    Aug 16, 2011
    I was on this cruise. It was a blast. I was not overwhelmed by the crowds. Like another poster said, you can chose to not follow the crowds and still have a great time. We stayed on board in Nassau and enjoyed the ship. We dined at Remy for brunch and dinner (no crowds there). We spent time sitting on the veranda listening to my cruise music play list, Aquaduck, bars, shows (golden mickeys, believe, wreck it ralph), Mixology, snorkeling on castaway...The list goes on. I am surprised at how much we were able to do in five days.

    As for the "holiday" part of the cruise.....Disney sure made it special. To all the little gifts left in the room (as mentioned above), to the santa/reindeer ice sculpture, all of the holiday decorations, the man sized gingerbread house, the gingerbread decorating event, special main dining room meal, etc....I walked around in amazement half the time. I was really impressed on all of the character interaction my kids got. It seemed like every time we turned around....Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, a princess (Ariel actually walked my 2 year old down the hallway), Donald, Daisy, all of the characters all decked out in their Christmas outfits. Never a long wait (rarely more than a minute or two) for the kids to interact with them. It was great. Not sure if this is the norm or if they had extra appearances because it was Christmas. The extra 200 in OBC presented on Christmas morning in our stateroom was also a nice touch (ok, I am kidding about that one). :rotfl2:

    All in all, I would highly recommend a holiday cruise.
  6. goeva

    goeva DIS Veteran

    Oct 4, 2012
    Can't wait to get back on the Dream. party:
  7. Floridagram

    Floridagram DIS Veteran

    Dec 12, 2006
    We were on the 5th sailing of the Fantasy earlier this year. One server was from the Magic and he hated the Fantasy because it was bigger and farther to the dining room. His assistant was new, it was his second sailing. He had been a server on another line and was having a hard time adjusting to the asst position. He tried but it was not the service we are used to on a cruise.

    I will say that I will no longer give them excellent marks on the survey if I do not get excellent service. And I hope I have the guts to tell them that if they push me for it. I will not hesitate to tip extra and well for extra service, but we really do not have high expectations, just basic needs met. Sometimes it was like pulling teeth to get that. When I hear of people getting meat cut up for kids I laugh. We had 6 kids and a one armed handicapped person that needed the aid of a child and got nothing from them.

    I think it is hit or miss on all lines. I read other boards and sailed on Carnival last year. I counted and our server at dinner had 28 people he waited on. He had been doing cruises for over 20 years and we got as good service as on DCL, not great but adequate. But considering the number of people he had he did a great job.
  8. mom2twincesses

    mom2twincesses Bursting with Excitement

    Aug 29, 2012
    Yup, we leave Saturday and I for the first time I felt my tummy flip in a "not so pleasant" way :sad2: Hopefully we'll all just be so excited just to be there that we'll enjoy no matter what! This will be my 3yos' first cruise, and DH and my 2nd, but 1st with DCL. *fingers crossed*
  9. Floridagram

    Floridagram DIS Veteran

    Dec 12, 2006
    You will have a great time! I have never had a bad cruise. Some elements may not be 100% pleasing but what in life is? Don't worry one minute. Just have a great time and see it though your 3 year olds eyes. that is where the true magic is!
  10. MaleficentRN

    MaleficentRN DIS Veteran

    Apr 1, 2011
    Right?! Me either! Wish my next cruise was a double dip! :(

    Why is no one looking at the OP's Pros and just focusing on their Cons? :confused3
    What was your favorite lunch spot? We always did Cabanas.
    I loved the Cove Cafe, too! I went and got a Chai Latte every morning and strolled the near empty decks. I agree, it truely is a gorgeous ship!
    Is it big? Heck, yes! That's one of the reasons I love it. So much to see and do. Can never figure out how people complain they were bored.
    Big shipxChristmas+Many passangers=Slow elevators. That does stink. We avoided the mid ship ones and took the staires down a lot. Had to walk off all that great food!
    And am I the only one whose servers didn't mention comment cards? Or if they did and I don't remember.
  11. Scoobypop

    Scoobypop Mouseketeer

    Jan 22, 2007
    As the last two pages of posts have assured, you will very likely love every second of your Dream cruise! Have been on 12 DCL cruises, all 4 ships. Just off the Fantasy Dec 22. Dream three times. One poster put it very well-you can SO easily avoid crowds if you time your flow to not coincide with big events going in or getting out. All the shows are great! No need to stand in line for dinner, your table is there waiting for you. No lines on the Aquaduck at night. I can't tell you how many times on all my DCL cruises I have the adult pool completely to myself. I don't know how to post pics on here, but I have many many pics of me alone in the quiet cove pool at various times to prove it.

    As for the excellent ratings "pressure" or "sales pitch" as its been referred to: I guess I have NEVER felt that way on my cruises. On the first night, the server and head server will come around, and they request that if ANYthing is not up to your satisfaction or liking, please let them know so they can fix it. They genuinely want to know, so that you WILL be happy with your mdr experiences. If you don't tell them, and you're not happy, you're going to wind up leaving unhappy and go home and post on a message board about how unimpressed you are, and scare someone else about to leave on their first cruise.

    A final word-as someone who works with the public in a high end resort in Las Vegas, understand that some people will never be happy, and will find something to complain about wherever they are-even when on vacation. Some people aren't happy unless they're miserable. So take the advice of those on the last couple pages-read the threads, take what you will from each post, but go on your own trip, form your own opinions and have a great time. You'll love the Dream!
  12. scootch

    scootch DIS Veteran

    Jan 6, 2005
    We did B2B Dream at Easter and did not feel it was crowded at all. Loved it. We did chose the Fantasy for our next cruise as we liked the ports(St. Thomas/San Juan). We loved the Dream, don't go in thinking you won't. Can't please everyone.
  13. jiminyC_fan

    jiminyC_fan <font color=FF00CC>Missing Captain Mickey!<br><fon

    Jul 24, 2001
    Don't worry. We were on the Maiden Voyage of the Dream. So many people came back complaining and we wondered if we were even on the same cruise as they were, LOL. It's what you make of it. Don't expect perfection as there is never perfection anywhere. Don't look for problems because you might find it and be disappointed. We have never been disappointed on a Disney cruise and we are platinum.
  14. ruadisneyfan2

    ruadisneyfan2 DIS Veteran

    May 20, 2006
    So true. Look at all the gripes about WDW. You could write a book about the long lines, large tour groups, declining food quality, ADRs, crowded buses, pushy stroller drivers, pushy scooter drivers, resort prices, ticket prices, etc. Still we know it's not perfect but we love it anyway.

    I wouldn't let one tiny negative comment scare me off a vacation.
  15. kimb96

    kimb96 Mouseketeer

    Jan 30, 2012
    I agree that people need to be honest about service. The problem is not going to be corrected if Disney doesn't know about it. We had straight up bad service our first two nights on the dream. Dh did mention it to our head server and the rest of the cruise was much better. Our servers were polite and efficient the rest of the cruise which is what I expect. We did not give excellent ratings to our servers other than the head server as we did feel he went above and beyond to correct the problem of bad service and make sure we were having a good time.

    As for crowds, it was crowded on the pool deck. We did not use the pools our whole cruise. We did ride the aqua duck a few times coming back from castaway cay when there was no line but otherwise avoided the pools. We did a double dip cruise so we felt we had plenty of swimming time. I might have been more disappointed if we had been on a different itinerary. The pools are a disappointment for sure. Way too small for the size of the ship and the amount of people on it. there is no swimming in the pools because they are so crowded. At best, you can stand in them and try to cool off.

    Overall I was very happy with our cruise and I wouldn't hesitate to do another.
  16. Dawg91

    Dawg91 Mouseketeer

    Dec 20, 2009
    We did the Dream in December and my only complaint as I've posted on other threads is with the crowd and noise in the MDRs. Our dinner service and service elsewhere was very "magical".
    We made a point of making eye contact and asking personal questions of crew members (where from, etc.) all over the ship and thoroughly enjoyed. Our servers Carlos and Paolo were great and couldn't have been better although try were extremely busy. Carlos did a magic trick each night as the dining room was emptying and we all loved it. We would have hung around and chatted with them each night if we weren't conscious of them having more work to do.

    Is there any cruise ship where the pool is large enough?

    The danger of the boards is in building up your expectations of a good or bad trip and convincing you that you must pack everything but the kitchen sink. I love them, but I do try to take everything with a grain of salt.
  17. disprincess4ever

    disprincess4ever DIS Veteran

    Jul 1, 2012
    Before going on the Fantasy last June, i took to these boards to read about what i should be expecting on my first cruise. I read lots of opinions, many complained about the food or the size of the ship. This made me feel discouraged and not that excited about my vacation. However, my trip was wonderful, and my only complaints were very minor and had nothing to do with disney. I'm addicted to disney cruises now. So, don't take opinions to heart, maybe even try to avoid them until after the cruise.
  18. cwdefouw

    cwdefouw DVC Member since 1999

    Oct 31, 2007
    We have done the Dream twice, first time was about 2 weeks after maiden voyage, very crowded, lots of little issues. Second time was in off-season, early December 2012. Second time was very different experience, like night and day. The ship was not crowded, Dining rooms and everything else ran much more smoothly, (we had an experienced serving team). Off season was much more enjoyable, so the best recommendation I can give is, if you are concerned about large crowds, which are really the root cause of many of the problems mentioned on this thread, then go in the off-season, and you will likely have no cause for concern. The off-season is cheaper anyway. We are on the DVC member cruise next week and expect it to be more crowded, but we know this going in, so can set our expectations accordingly.
  19. NCConch

    NCConch Mouseketeer

    Dec 29, 2012
    I'm glad I found this thread. We are a year out from our first cruise as a family and I was almost getting worried about all of the glowing reports. My expectations were becoming a little too big and I am sure it would have set me up for disappointment. When I was younger I worked in the food industry waiting tables for a very demanding and opinionated clientele. If you did not do your job you did not last long. It's vital that you grade the staff appropriately. Knowing that I am spending this much money on a cruise I hope the cruise line keeps only the best staff.

    Can someone explain the double dip concept?
  20. woody73

    woody73 <font color=darkorange>Enjoyed the Pumpkinmen<br><

    Jun 7, 2005
    Two stops at Castaway Cay.

  21. ItAllStrtdWAMouse

    ItAllStrtdWAMouse Fan for Life

    Feb 9, 2012
    We also did the Dream in early December. The crowds were a little lighter and everything was magical. But as the quoted poster said above the danger is in high expectations. My wife loved our server. I expected more (in personality not service). She gave him a much larger extra tip than I would initially thought. When I had a chance to think about it. We never had to ask for anything, the food was the right temp. My child's allergy was handled without a hitch. All the servers were polite, just not overly talkative. This can always be solved by the level of interaction you give back.

    Our room server was great also. It wasn't until the second day that we started really talking. If I hadn't made a point to ask how his day was, versus the standard good morning... I may not have had such a great experience with him.

    We had many other great experiences. Cast members at the excursion desk and at Pink. If you travel off-season, you will have a much more relaxed crew who will have the time to give you that extra magic.

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